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January 21 2013

waka
09:11
Kyoto bengara red-ocher walls - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Ochaya, Gion, Kyoto

Visiting Kyoto, you will notice that some traditional buildings, especially tea-houses from the geisha district, are painted with a beautiful red-ocher color. This very special shade of red is obtained from a pigment extracted from the soil rich in iron oxide from Bengal, India, hence its Japanese name, bengara. The pigment, besides its great aesthetic role, protects the wood, making it resistant to sunlight and heat.

Today, I want to show you this bengara painted tea-house, located very close to the entrance of the Hanami-koji street from Gion, right across the famous Ichiriki Chaya (which is also painted with a shade of begara).

December 19 2012

waka
17:36
Kyoto Station nighttime view - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Kyoto Station, View from Kyoto Tower, Kyoto

I wrote recently about Kyoto Station, a masterpiece of architecture created by Hiroshi Hara, the same architect who designed my favorite skyscraper, Umeda Sky Building from Osaka. Today, I would like to show you a different view of this magnificent construction, a nighttime photo taken from the Kyoto Tower.

The Kyoto Station is actually a conglomerate of buildings, each with its own architecture, with an inner courtyard. On the inside, the Kyoto Station looks spectacular, but seen from above looks equally amazing. To the left, the block with smaller windows is the Granvia Hotel and to the right you can see the commercial area, while the semi-covered inner courtyard is visible in the middle…

October 25 2012

waka
13:32
Kyoto, Yasaka Pagoda - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Yasaka Pagoda, Higashiyama, Kyoto

With its height of 49 meters, the Yasaka Pagoda is visible from many viewpoints across the Higashiyama district. One of the most important landmarks from Kyoto, this five-story pagoda once belonged to the Hokanji Temple, established by Prince Shotoku at the end of the 6th century.

After being destroyed and rebuilt several times during its long history, the pagoda we see today dates from 1440, when it was rebuilt by the shogun Ashikaga Yoshinori. Designated as an important cultural property, the Yasaka Pagoda is, together with the five-story pagoda from the Shitennoji Temple from Osaka, amongst the very few Japanese pagodas where the visitors are allowed inside…

Reposted byEpitaph Epitaph

October 14 2012

waka
12:39
Kyoto Fushimi Inari Taisha Kagura-den - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Kagura-den, Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto

Since the old times, the traditional Shinto ceremonies featured sacred dances as offerings for kami. Originally, these dances were performed on temporary platforms raised near the shrine, but during the Heian period, the temporary stages were replaced by permanent constructions called kagura-den ("dance hall").

Today, only the larger and most important shrines have a kagura-den, in the smaller shrines the danced being performed in the main hall of worship (haiden).
Here is one of the most beautiful of them, the kagura-den from the Fushimi Inari Taisha from Kyoto, a pavilion similar to the ones used for Noh plays.

September 04 2012

waka
08:19
The most famous Geisha tea house from Kyoto - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Ichiriki Chaya, Gion, Kyoto

Right at the entrance of the Hanami-koji street from Gion, the famous Kyoto district of geiko (geisha in the Kyoto dialect), you will find the most famous geisha tea house (ochaya), the Ichiriki Chaya. Established over 300 years ago, this ochaya is also one of the oldest tea houses and it became famous because the leader of the Forty-seven Ronin, Oishi Kuranosuke, spent here several nights to deceive the potential spies. A Kabuki play about this event became a huge success and since the ochaya was featured in the play, it soon became famous throughout Japan.

It is said that the original name was Yorozuya (written 万屋), but since in the play the first kanji was split as (ichi) and (riki), the owners decided to change the name…

The fame of Ichiriki Chaya became recently international, after the success of Arthur Golden’s book “Memoirs of a Geisha", because most of the action takes place here. Interestingly, since this is one of the most exclusive places in Kyoto and the access is strictly invitation-only, it seems that the author never visited this place - the owners denied knowing him…

Reposted bymonkeyheadinsomniablogging

September 02 2012

waka
10:24
A modern Zen Garden in Kyoto - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Zen Garden, Tofuku-ji Temple, Kyoto

If you love Zen gardens, one of the most interesting places to visit in Kyoto is the Tofuku-ji Temple. You will find a Zen garden on each of the 4 sides of its Hojo building, all created in 1930 by one of the most important Japanese garden builders, Mirei Shigemori. Today, I want to show you the Northern Garden, which re-creates the Zen simplicity with modern design themes: a checkered pattern with square rocks and large patches of moss.

As you can see in the photo, since the summer was scorching here in Kyoto, a large part of the moss, not protected by the building shadows, has dried up… But I think this only adds up to the beauty of this remarkable garden…

July 25 2012

waka
08:55
Kyoto Fushimi Inari Main Gate - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto

Best known for Senbon torii, the over 5000 vermillion torii gates, the shrine Fushimi Inari Taisha from Kyoto is also famous for its large number of kitsune (foxes) statues. Messengers of Inari, the kami worshiped here, the kitsune are omnipresent in the shrine, starting right at the entrance, where the spectacular Main Gate (built by the famous Toyotomi Hideyoshi) is flanked by two large kitsune statues. In case you’re wondering, the kitsune from the left holds in his mouth the keys to the granaries, because Inari is the kami of rice.

June 30 2012

waka
09:05
Kyoto Shirakawa Tea-houses -  via A Japan Photo per Day -

Shirakawa Canal, Kyoto

An inspired law that was passed in 1976 by the Kyoto City government prevented the destruction of the old tea-houses (ochaya) and managed to preserve the old look of several streets from Kyoto. Some of these wonderful streets are located in the Gion district, like the Shirakawa-minami-dori, a street running alongside the canal with the same name (Shirakawa means “white river” and minami means “south").

Here’s an image taken from across the Shirakawa channel, with a few old ochaya, 2-story wooden buildings with traditional Japanese design, with lattice windows and sudare (screens or blinds din bamboo) for protection against sun and insects.

Reposted byWeksjosephinetimecodeblackmatterbarefootgirldonotmindme
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